Over the past year, the use of video conferencing software has ballooned, primarily due to the wave of remote workers alongside the COVID-19 pandemic. At the start of this shift to remote work, video calls were hailed as the future, and they were seen as a novel way of carrying out corporate meetings that were once confined to conference rooms. 

But after months and months of nonstop video calls, the monotony of sitting for long hours in virtual meetings has taken a toll on remote workers. This led to the issue of of “virtual meeting burnout” — a feeling of fatigue, exhaustion, or drain that sets in after or even before engaging in a video call. 

Studies and interviews with remote workers showed that this fatigue and exhaustion comes from constant self-evaluation of ourselves in front of the camera, increased cognitive overload, and being immobile for a long period of time. And Zoom fatigue is costly. It reduces our levels of concentration on the task at hand. A series of many meetings causes burnout, and the exhaustion makes us lose focus during the meeting, and even throughout the workday, resulting in lower productivity overall. 

To ensure that you are constantly motivated, productive, and eager to jump on your next call or start your workday, you need to watch out for virtual meeting burnout. But how do you know if you’re experience this phenomenon? First, you first have to start by identifying its signs and symptoms. Read on to learn about 6 signs of virtual meeting burnout — online meetings are the way of the future, and there are many great benefits once you learn how to identify weaknesses and adjust properly.

1. You feel exhausted or tense after a video call

The reason you may feel tense or exhausted after a video call is because they require intense amounts of focus and brainpower. There are a lot of things that your brain must handle simultaneously during a video call — everything from checking the glowing orange chat function for notifications, audio messages, people listening, and even send text messages. Other things that you may need to watch for or worry about are computer glitches, app crushed, and a drop in connection. 

There is also prolonged eye contact, increased facial expression, and the need to show no-verbal clues to ensure the other person picks up the right message. These activities take up lots of energy. In the end, you are completely drained or burned out to engage in any meaningful task.

2. The thought of another video call makes you grumpy

Have you ever been invited for a video call and ask for the meeting to be done through a different means other than video? Or you look at your next Zoom call and feel you want to postpone or reschedule? You are probably experiencing virtual meeting burnout. 

The issue with video calls — now more than ever — is they aren’t limited to a few hours a day or work-related matters. We always have to be
“on” when we use video software to chat with our colleagues, children, bosses, couches, parents, and personal doctors.
Such frequent video calls take a mental toll on us, resulting in fatigue and the impulse to reject more calls.

3. You lose focus during meetings

Statistics show that meetings can be very unproductive, primarily due to a lack of organization and preparation. They result in unnecessary delays, eat into valuable employee time, and disrupt important organizational activities. We have also heard of cases where employee’s kids or pets interrupt meetings, creating disruption and loss of focus among the attendees. 

But how do you know if you are burning out? Sometimes you zone out on Zoom meetings or turn off your camera to do other things when other participants aren’t watching. In the end, this loss of focus affects your ability to stay productive while working from home.

4. You have difficulty handling your responsibility

Despite all the benefits of meeting virtually, the biggest issue most people have with it is monotony, especially when you have to attend back to back meetings each day. Whether or not the meetings are productive, they can lead to overall work from home burnout, reduce motivation, cause heightened anxiety, or lead to depression.

Once burnout, depression, and anxiety set in, it is challenging to execute your duties because you are dissatisfied with your work. It is even more challenging for those extroverts against remote work, yet we’re forced to work from home like the rest because of lockdown. Such people do not thrive in isolation and may have a hard time executing their responsibilities. 

5. Muscle pain, tension, and insomnia 

Online video meetings require one to sit in one position or station for a long time. This can lead to pain in the body because of a lack of motion while constantly looking at yourself and several other things simultaneously. There is also eye strain and headaches from constantly staring at the camera or screen for a long time. These discomforts automatically affect your productivity and may cause increased worry or insomnia.

6. You feel frustrated with yourself, co-workers, and those around you

Do you feel like yelling or cursing at your computer or a co-worker who loves to take his/her precious time when delivering a point during meetings? Do you slam or throw your keyboard or mouse in response to a computer glitch or interruption? Are you dreading the virtual happy hours or loathing the feeling of constantly seeing yourself on camera with nowhere to hide? 

Chances are, you are experiencing virtual meeting burnout. The physiological effect of constantly being seen can make you feel insecure, nervous, exhausted, and violated to hate ourselves and dread those Zoom calls altogether. 

How To Overcome Meeting Burnout

The good thing about virtual meeting burnout is that it is manageable. You can engage several tactics to regain motivation before, during, and after a Zoom call to prevent Zoom fatigue from taking a toll on your work and life. Some easy ways to combat virtual meeting burnout?

Make sure you disconnect when you need to, and consider reducing the number of online meetings or making meetings shorter whenever possible. You can also take frequent breaks between meetings, establish a daily routine, and even try meditating or practicing yoga to help decompress from the workday. 

Another way to overcome virtual meeting burnout is to use a project management tool like Hive. Hive lets you manage projects and accomplish tasks without necessarily holding a meeting for every single item you need to discuss. With Hive, there are many different ways to communicate with coworkers throughout the day, so you can save those Zoom meetings for the most essential items on your agenda. 

In Hive, you can comment on actions and projects, use the native chat system (or integrate Slack), or even connect your email inbox to the platform. With all of these other communication options, you can tackle questions and concerns as they arise — so your virtual meetings meetings are less frequent and stressful. And when it is time to meet virtually, you can use Hive’s Zoom integration to easily start a meeting right from the platform. 

collaborate in meetings

Hive Notes is another great tool for making virtual meetings more organized and productive. With Hive Notes, everyone can collaborate on a meeting note in real time, keeping your meetings on track and helping your team avoid those long, boring, calls that lead to virtual meeting burnout. 

So just because online meetings aren’t going anywhere any time soon, it doesn’t mean you have to suffer from virtual meeting burnout. Once you identify the signs and symptoms, you can take the necessary steps to improve your experience. Do you have any other methods of overcoming virtual meeting burnout? Let us know in the comments below!

Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She is passionate about sharing stories with the hope to make a difference in people’s lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn